Learning Management System - DLE - Merge Course Sections

Brightspace Merge Course Procedure



Faculty and Staff utilizing the LMS


FERPA - The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law (https://studentprivacy.ed.gov/faq/what-ferpa)

Merged Course - When course sections that do not meet together are merged or cross-listed into a single LMS course primarily for administrative convenience

Parent Course - The top course for which content is assigned and the course is managed from

Child Course​​​​ - Course shells that reside under the parent course, cannot be edited directly


If you find yourself posting the same materials to different course sections of the same course during a semester, you can request that your course sections be combined into a single Brightspace course site.  This will require your supervisor’s approval via a ticket approval process.  This merger must be done in accordance with FERPA guidelines, noting the following: 

When course sections that do not meet together are merged  into a single LMS course primarily for administrative convenience, instructors should take steps to ensure student privacy and compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Specifically, students in courses with merged (non-crosslisted) sections should not be permitted to see or interact with students in sections other than their own unless the sections share a common meeting place and time. 

Brightspace limits the visibility of students from other sections in a merged courses. However, this does not cover all LMS tools, so if you request to merge Brightspace courses, you’ll need to take additional steps to protect your students’ privacy. 

Because of this requirement, students are not allowed to interact within a Brightspace or other LMS course with students from another course section. Due to FERPA regulations, after the courses are merged, the course tools: Course Messages, Email, and Roster will be closed.  

FERPA disclosing the identities of students through an LMS to students in another class. The disclosure prohibition would not apply where merged courses are actually the same class, meeting at the same time, and in the same classroom (if there is a classroom component), but happened to be assigned different course numbers or names in the college catalogue or class schedule.” (Dave Stolier, 2017).  

**Students must be informed, via a traceable email, or LMS announcement that their course sections have been merged, this must be done such that students cannot repudiate that they were informed.  

NOTE: FERPA regulations do not apply to a merged Brightspace course if students physically meet in the same classroom at the same time .  

A merged course cannot have a user available and active in two child sections. 

  • Two courses with different content and lessons should not be merged.  

  • Courses should never be merged during a semester. Courses that already have student activity, never merge them together. The activity will not propagate to the parent course, and the students’ activity will appear to be missing. 

  • Courses are merged creating a parent-child relationship, and all changes made to the parent course will be pushed to the child. 

  • Content added to a child will not be added to a parent. 

Standard Features 

  • Multiple course sections will be combined into the course site with the lowest CRN. (A new course site will not be created) 

  • Automatic course enrollments for classes listed in Banner 

  • In Brightspace, students will not see the course for which they are enrolled but will see the course with the lowest CRN in the title. 

  • Students will only view students from their section on the roster 

  • Students can view their own submissions and/or group submissions (if group assignments are utilized). They cannot see other group’s members. 

  • Students can only email students from their section. 

Optional Features 

  • Discussions must be configured by the instructor and follow all FERPA guidelines. 


Roles and Responsibilities 

  • The requester must be the instructor of record listed in Banner to have these courses combined. 

  • The instructor must communicate to the students that the course sections are merged and the course title so that students know where to access and participate in the course. 

  • The instructor must communicate to the students if discussion forums are with just the students in which they are enrolled or if the discussion will include all course sections. 




Article ID: 143803
Tue 1/17/23 9:25 AM
Mon 3/20/23 1:37 PM